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Monday January 19, 2009 2:00 pm

HTPC Building Series: Choosing the MSI 7411 motherboard


MSI 7411

Check out our HTPC on a Budget series and join us in building a great HTPC for under $1,000.

In this installment of the Home Theater PC building log, we wanted to focus on the core of our system. Previously, we took a look at the process of selecting hardware along with a look at the overall mission to build the best HTPC we can, on a budget. To understand what we are aiming to do, though, I thought it would be best if we were able to take a look at what’s going to be at the center of everything: the MSI MS-7411 Media Live DIVA 7.1 motherboard.

That’s a mouthful, we know - but it’s also an amazing centerpiece for our system. The foundation is MSI’s MS-7411 micro-ATX motherboard featuring AMD’s 780M chipset with UVD support and side-port memory for smooth 1080p playback. This motherboard can be ordered with either pre-amp or amp audio card solutions (one purchase package) directly from your distributor of choice. Note that this motherboard uses the mobile variant of the 780 for additional power savings features that are useful in a home theater environment. It pulls less power, and it doesn’t get as hot, which means much less fan noise. Nothing kills a movie experience like fan noise, seriously.


More on the motherboard, it has a ton of built-in goodness. We are talking about things like Gigabit Ethernet, 4 DDR2 DIMM slots (8GB maximum), supports Phenom, Athlon, and Sempron processors in socket AM2/AM2+ packages, 4 SATA ports for support of 4 SATA devices (and with a media-centric PC, the more hard drives, the better!).

Moving to the back panel, we get a VGA port, 4 USB ports, 1 HDMI port (for getting digital video from the HTPC to your big screen), component video out, etc. As you can see if you’re an audio or videophile, this motherboard is packed. This is the perfect clean slate to start with when building out our home theater component, since it has all the connections you need - both inside and out.

In our next segment, we will look at the components that we are going to be hooking up to this motherboard in greater detail.

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Comments:

Good catch. I replaced the link. The 5.1 and the 7.1 are the same motherboard, you just buy the 7.1 card and install it into the 5.1.

I finally remembered my username!  Now I can comment like a real GearLiver.

I just found your site and like the way this HTPC looks.. what can you tell me about the graphics on this mobo?  I am coming form a gaming background, so everything is add-on cards with lots of ram.. on board video is a major no-no. 

Thanks!

I can understand your thinking with regard to OBV. I would first reiterate that the system as it is built for HTPC has great video for what it is. The real benefit to this setup is if you want to add a video card just open her up and pop one in. The crossfire capability should appeal to a “gamer” and if your looking to use our system as a gaming / htpc machine then you should seriously look at the ATI specs for the onboard ATI Radeon 3200 GPU. I have built some custom units using add on cards (my son has the Radeon 2600 HD proin his playing all the latest games) and to date have been thouroughly impressed with the cooling capacity of this case.

If you have specific needs let me know what your thinking… FYI My son is major into gears of war, halo and WOW. He’s currently running with the LG blu-ray 2 WD sata HDD 640s and 8Gb Gskill ram with a 5050e CPU and that 2600 pro with 512 ram.


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